End user specification of approved data cable products
The use of data cables is expanding across all industries, for this reason the specifications for each end user may differ, the durability in harsh environments, the distance travelled, indicating the considerations that need to be considered during the manufacturing process. This article will discuss the role of the data cable for the end user and thus the specification the cable must accommodate.
Data demand and need for efficient cable
In today’s world, the majority of people will make some form of data transaction of one form or another, e-mail, social media, online banking. Data usage has grown exponentially in recent times and millions of offices worldwide rely on their structured cabling infrastructure to be robust and fit for purpose, not only now, but also in the future. There have been rapid technological advancements over the past 20 years and the inevitable, further future leaps in technology. When designing an office infrastructure, a key consideration should be not only “what are my data requirements now?”, but also, “what might the requirements be in the future”.
Data is connecting cities worldwide allowing communication with no geographical barriers
System integrity and reliability
The progression of established standards IEC, ANSI/TIA and EN, specify the requirements of structured cabling systems, in respect to the measurement of data integrity and immunity to EMI. Test parameters have become more onerous. The key performance indicators for a data cable are attenuation and crosstalk, therefore in-depth tests have been developed to measure both. The tests determine the interference experienced, which in turn impacts the ability of the cable to transmit data without errors.
Approved cable products are assessed to ensure that they are produced using only high-quality components. During the certification process cables are measured against various performance parameters, considering the environmental challenges it may encounter during installation and its life span. Giving both the installer and end user piece of mind that the cable being used can accommodate high demands for data, whilst withstanding external influences which would otherwise compromise performance.
The adoption of data cables in almost all industries has meant that transmission testing alone may not indicate the cables overall performance. This has resulted in the development of ANSI/TIA standards assessing mechanical, ingress, chemical and electromagnetic (MICE) classification to determine the harshness of the cable’s surroundings.
As well as effective data transmission it is fundamental for end users to install safe data cables Currently most cables available in the UK are insulated, bedded or sheathed with materials such as PVC, TPE, Nylon, metal weaving and mercerised cotton, each reacts differently to fire.
In the event of a fire, PVC produces highly toxic black smoke and acidic gases. It also acts as a fuel, helping spread flames along a cable, through a building and into its voids. It also prevents the risk of droplets caused by melting. The smoke and gases given off by burning cables can hinder a building’s occupants from escaping in event of a fire. It can also inhibit firefighters by blocking their vision and reducing the effectiveness of emergency lighting.
Data cables tend to be bundled together, travelling all over large buildings. For this reason, data cables must be safe in the case of a fire.
Cost of failure- what is the cost of outage
The majority of industries rely heavily on data for streamlining processes and making informed strategic business decisions such as using software to monitor customer behaviour or implementing new smart technology. Therefore, an outage or machine failure can have a huge impact on the business with loss of time and money.
Backwards compatibility and future proofing
Unlike hardware that connects to the IT infrastructure, the cabling itself forms part of the fabric of the building. Given the cost and disruption involved in changing the network infrastructure, a key consideration is ensuring that the infrastructure you install will enable future technological developments in both speed and usage. As the need for more bandwidth increases, the cables that form the backbone of the networks need to be able to keep up the demands of the business for years to come. Though the transmission equipment such as the network switch governs the speed of the network, the cabling network needs to have the headroom to support this. So, the evolution of this type of hardware will drive the specification of the cabling required to support it, whether it be gigabit ethernet or 10Gb ethernet, the cable specified needs to accommodate the data requirements of the future.
Any manufacturer going through the approval process is assessed on the basis of many contributing factors, including its quality management systems, down to how they train their teams. In doing so this minimises the risk of product failures throughout every stage of the manufacturing process.
Samples from each cable design are forensically examined to ensure that all relevant specification parameters are satisfied. Cables form the building blocks of any IT infrastructure therefore high-quality product, with proven performance is critical. Using a certified manufacturer enables you to be sure of product quality. It is critically important to ensure that the structured cabling is tested and verified to meet all of the complex data transmission parameters. In today’s data driven world any instance of system outages or data corruption can cause businesses a myriad of issues and problems.
Data communication approval ensures a level of quality, in line with the industry standards, can be successfully delivered to your end user. One, which a non-approved cable cannot guarantee. Third party certification offers continuous peace of mind, delivered through a rigorous auditing and product sampling schedule to ensure cables consistently,
For more information about the role of data cable for the end user download the BASEC data communication guide.